September 28, 2022
Selah is now in Kindergarten. Yes, I'm very sad.
On the day of her orientation, she kept telling me how nervous she was, so I encouraged her by saying, "Don't worry. You're going to have a great first day tomorrow."
But I had trouble believing my words. I was nervous--not for her, but for me because my first day of school at New Brunswick Theological Seminary was later that evening.
To ease her students' nerves about the first day of school, Selah's teacher read Butterflies On The First Day of School by Annie Silvestro. The book is about Rosie. She, too, is nervous about her first day of school and doesn't feel well; the reason why she doesn't feel well, her parents explain, is because she has butterflies in her belly. Rosie musters courage to get on the school bus, and from that moment on, when she opens her mouth to share something about herself, butterflies fly out and Rosie's belly feels better each time.
As Selah's teacher was reading to her students, I closed my eyes and listened. I needed to hear the story for myself because I had butterflies about seminary. Law school traumatized me and I assumed that this graduate seminary experience might be the same. Did I carefully read the material? I should brief the readings, right? What if I'm the only one who doesn't? Should I make an outline for the readings and a separate outline for the lectures? What if she calls on me and I answer incorrectly? I'll lose participation points. Will my classmates be cutthroat?
But when the first class opened in prayer, I exhaled in relief and a butterfly flew out of my mouth. When I shared about the path that led me to seminary and learned that other students had similar journeys, another butterfly flew out. When I shared my anxieties about the seminary experience and my classmates empathized, we all exhaled our butterflies. Our bellies felt better.
Friends, isn't this how our fellowship should be?
What butterflies flutter within you? Whatever they are, don't keep them in. If we don't know the health of our brothers and sisters, then how can we "[r]ejoice with those who rejoice, [and] weep with those who weep" (Rom. 12:15, ESV)? Find comfort in the company that God has surrounded you with--this Graceway community. Like little Rosie, little Selah or little Charles, take courage and let your butterflies fly out together in a safe space. You have your pick: FG, Wednesday Night Prayer Meetings, Saturday Morning Prayer Meetings, Youth Ministry activities, Sunday Worship, or even just coffee.
Your belly will feel much better.
Pastor Charles Chang